Researchers Say Tort Reform Won’t Save Money

Oct 02, 2014
Paul M. da Costa

“Tort reform” is a traditionally Republican concept whereby the legislature attempts to eliminate “frivolous,” or baseless, medical malpractice lawsuits from the courts.  It is a legislative effort to eliminate defensive medicine and lower costs of healthcare. Defensive medicine is a practice where physicians may order diagnostic tests that may not be necessary or best for the patient, but are ordered so that the physician can protect him or herself from being sued later on if something goes wrong.

However, as was recently reported by the Los Angeles Times, a new study has shown that tort reform may not be as useful as the Republican party once believed it would be to lowering healthcare spending.  The study found that  “defensive medicine accounts for 2.9% of healthcare spending.”  While 2.9% of total healthcare spending amounts to a whopping $78 billion dollars, that number is trivial compared to the $2.7 trillion total spent in the healthcare bill.  Critics have argued that any efforts, specifically through tort reform, to reduce the amount spent on defensive malpractice would inevitably create more costs.  Thus, these critics have concluded that promoting tort reform is not a viable plan for reducing healthcare spending.

Other critics suggest that the strong support for tort reform comes from some legislators desire to limit malpractice suits in general.  However, in many cases, limiting malpractice suits generally will often have adverse effects on those individuals who have legitimate claims.  Those who have been injured may not be able to get the compensation they deserve.

If you or a loved one has been injured while undergoing surgery, you may have a medical malpractice claim.  If you need help with your case, the experienced attorneys at Sarno da Costa D’Aniello Maceri LLC can help.  Contact us today at 973-274-520